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Share the Source Code

A Nature editorial calls for greater sharing of computer code that's an integral part of work appearing in the journal or its sister journals. While it acknowledges that it may not always be possible for authors to share that information, the journal is requiring articles to include a statement regarding whether the code is available and if there are any restrictions on how it may be used.

"A core element of many papers is the computer code used by authors in models, simulations, and data analysis," the editorial says. "In an ideal world, this code would always be transportable and easily used by others."

Though that ideal may not always be reached, Nature says it "want[s] to encourage as much sharing as possible." Its editors, the journal adds, will expect computer code to be available when appropriate, adding that "any practical issues preventing code sharing will be evaluated by the editors, who reserve the right to decline a paper if important code is unavailable."

Nature adds that it plans to work with communities to put together best practice plans and refine its rules.